Communion Of Dreams


I am the maker of rules.*

The Miami-Dade Police Department recently finalized a deal to buy a drone, which is an unmanned plane equipped with cameras. Drones have been used for years in Iraq and Afghanistan in the war against terror.

* * *

MDPD purchased a drone named T-hawk from defense firm Honeywell to assist with the department’s Special Response Team’s operations. The 20-pound drone can fly for 40 minutes, reach heights of 10,500 feet and cruise in the air at 46 miles an hour. “It gives us a good opportunity to have an eye up there. Not a surveilling eye, not a spying eye. Let’s make the distinction. A surveilling eye to help us to do the things we need to do, honestly, to keep people safe,” said Miami-Dade Police Director James Loftus.

This quotation, slightly altered, is inscribed on a plaque in the stairwell of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

(CNN) — If you get arrested in California, better hope there are no incriminating texts or e-mails or sensitive data stored on your phone.

On Monday, the California Supreme Court ruled that police in that state can search the contents of an arrested person’s cell phone.

Citing U.S. Supreme Court precedents, the ruling contends that “The loss of privacy upon arrest extends beyond the arrestee’s body to include ‘personal property … immediately associated with the person of the arrestee’ at the time of arrest.”

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Metro anti-terrorism teams will immediately start random inspections of passengers’ bags and packages to try to protect the rail and bus system from attack, transit officials said Thursday.

Police using explosives-screening equipment and bomb-sniffing dogs will pull aside people carrying bags for the inspections according to a random number, Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn said. The searches might be conducted at one location at a time or at several places simultaneously. If people refuse, they will be barred from entering the rail station or boarding a bus with the item, Taborn said. The inspections will be conducted “indefinitely,” he said.

You live in a defended island of freedom, but your life is part of the main. So let me ask you as I close, to lift your eyes beyond the dangers of today, to the hopes of tomorrow, beyond the freedom merely of this city of Berlin, or your country of Germany, to the advance of freedom everywhere, beyond the wall to the day of peace with justice, beyond yourselves and ourselves to all mankind.”

If you’ve ridden the subway in New York City any time in the past few years, you’ve probably seen the signs: “If You See Something, Say Something.”

In Washington, D.C., Metro riders are treated to a recording of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urging them to report suspicious sights to the proper authorities.

Now, Wal-Mart shoppers across the country will see Napolitano’s message in a video as they stand in the checkout line.

“We are expanding ‘See Something, Say Something’ in a number of venues,” Napolitano tells NPR’s Audie Cornish. “It’s Wal-Mart, it’s Mall of America, it’s different sports and sporting arenas, it’s transit systems. It’s a catchy phrase, but it reminds people that our security is a shared responsibility.”

All this means that the people of any country have the right, and should have the power by constitutional action, by free unfettered elections, with secret ballot, to choose or change the character or form of government under which they dwell; that freedom of speech and thought should reign; that courts of justice, independent of the executive, unbiased by any party, should administer laws which have received the broad assent of large majorities or are consecrated by time and custom. Here are the title deeds of freedom which should lie in every cottage home. Here is the message of the British and American peoples to mankind. Let us preach what we practice — let us practice — what we preach.”

In ancient times, Gorgon was a mythical Greek creature whose unblinking eyes turned to stone those who beheld them. In modern times, Gorgon may be one of the military’s most valuable new tools.

* * *

This winter, the Air Force is set to deploy to Afghanistan what it says is a revolutionary airborne surveillance system called Gorgon Stare, which will be able to transmit live video images of physical movement across an entire town

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.”

Bryce Williams wasn’t expecting to walk through a metal detector or have his bags screened for explosives at the Greyhound bus terminal near downtown Orlando.

But Williams and 689 other passengers went through tougher-than-normal security procedures Thursday as part of a random check coordinated by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

The idea is to keep off guard terrorists and others who mean harm, thereby improving safety for passengers and workers. There was no specific threat to the bus station on John Young Parkway south of Colonial Drive.

I can’t help but feel that we took a wrong turn somewhere.

Jim Downey
*Of course. Cross posted to dKos.

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[…] this is part of the reason why I object so to the expansion of a “security state” here in the U.S. – I’ve seen what […]

Pingback by A follow up. « Communion Of Dreams

[…] Control the rules, and you control the game. See you at the crossroads. […]

Pingback by See you at the crossroads. « Communion Of Dreams

[…] And, of course, this is just one small aspect of our increasing surveillance society. […]

Pingback by Good lord. « Communion Of Dreams

[…] by MeFi, but of course this isn’t a new topic for me.) Share this:EmailFacebookStumbleUponTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

Pingback by Privacy: R.I.P. « Communion Of Dreams

[…] Complete safety is an illusion. A fantasy. I know most people don’t want to actually think about that, but the truth is that living is a terminal disease and there’s more than a fair chance you will suffer your share of accidents along the way. Accept that, and you can go through your life trying to minimize those while maximizing your happiness. But if you are obsessed with never being at risk – if you let fear control you – then you will be controlled by others. […]

Pingback by Fear is the mind-killer.* « Communion Of Dreams

[…] I have referenced music from the Alan Parsons Project here a couple of times. I’ve always had a lot of respect for their stuff, as well as Parson’s work as a sound […]

Pingback by “There is always hope. Only because that is the one thing no one has figured out how to kill. Yet.”* « Communion Of Dreams




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